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Dialect - Research Paper Example

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Dialect Professor number Dialect “A language is a dialect that has an army and a navy” (Fromkin 430). This statement made by the great linguist Max Weinrich proves the political nature of the definitions and statuses of language and its dialects…
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Dialect Research Paper
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Download file to see previous pages The history of Bangladesh is a case that proves the validity of this point. The various dialects that are part of the same language are given different statuses according to the political power that are possessed by the different groups that speak it. Apart from sociolinguistics that all these are a part of, there is also the aspect of a dialect that makes it phonetically and syntactically different from other dialects of the same language that puts linguists in a quandary as to whether to classify a dialect as a dialect or as a language in its own right. There are various dialects that are used in today’s language. English itself has various varieties that we may classify as dialects since they have a lot in common with the standard forms of English, which may be considered to be the American and British varieties. As a result of colonialism, a large number of dialects of English have sprung up in former colonies of England (Mesthrie). They began in some countries as pidgins that were used for purposes of trade and commerce. As the power and prestige that were associated with the language of the coloniser increased among the colonized, the significance of English began to rise. Even after the liberation of these former colonies, the legacy of the coloniser remained in the form of the language of English. This, even today, remains a symbol of one’s class belonging in these countries, where they are associated with colonial attitudes that have refused to fade away. These countries have however, also introduced their own flavors to the English that they have received. Thus, today, there is an Indian English, an Australian English and a lot of other varieties of English that are considered to be official dialects by linguists. With the evolution of the forms of colonialism that are employed by the political powers of the world, the politics of language also underwent changes. Neocolonial attitudes that were fostered by the superiority of the United States of America in the political arena ensure that the American dialect is considered to be the superior form of English. This dialect is popularized by American sitcoms and other shows on radio that make it more popular especially among the youth who ape the words and syntax that are used in the media. The dominant dialect leads to what linguists refer to as the death of the indigenous dialects of an area (Crystal). This is usually caused by dialects that are used for official purpose such as for administration. This dialect then turns into the one that the people of a region desire to acquire for the purpose of moving up the social ladder through the acquisition of employment in the government and the private sector. The situation is equally, if not more complicated for those nations that are multilingual. Such nations have to deal with dialects that demand the status of a separate language. This may seem like a tokenistic gesture; however, it leads to a lot of complications such as the demand for a separate state within or in some cases even outside the nation. A separation from the state may result in the diminishing of the status of the state while a separation which is effected while staying with the nation shall lead to administrative difficulties and also sets a precedent for other communities that compromises on the strength of the nation. In a multicultural and multiracial society, a dialect becomes the symbol of a community’ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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